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California aims to expand network of retail hydrogen fuelling stations for public through $17.3M grant opportunity 

The California Energy Commission released on April 6, 2016, a $17.3-million solicitation for publicly accessible hydrogen refuelling stations to serve California’s light-duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). The grant opportunity is intended to support state objectives on climate change, air quality and the zero-emissions vehicles (ZEV) mandate, which includes reaching 1.5 million ZEVs on the road in California by 2025. Hydrogen FCEVs are expected to play a critical role in meeting the ZEV Mandate targets. A growing hydrogen station network will also contribute to the mix of alternative fuels needed to implement the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), which is designed to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels by 10 per cent by 2020.

Funds for capital expense (Cap-X) plus Operation and Maintenance (O&M) are available. Preference will be given to proposed sites that help fill gaps in the current hydrogen fuelling network. Only stations receiving a Cap-X grant award under this solicitation will be eligible for an O&M Support Grant. The Energy Commission expects to recommend funding for all O&M grants supporting funded stations under this solicitation.

The Energy Commission strongly prefers and encourages applicants to expedite stations becoming operational to the greatest extent possible. Stations becoming operational within 20 months after approval will earn full funding incentives.

A pre-application workshop is scheduled for April 26, 2016. Applications are due by July 15, 2016.

The Tech-K.O. Takeaway:  Canada should not focus exclusively on electric vehicle charging infrastructure to achieve its transportation decarbonization objectives. To be successful, we ought to broaden the base of policy support and investment in other zero-emissions, zero-carbon vehicle platforms, including H2 fuel cells. Our chances of success are much higher if we take this kind of strategic, portfolio approach. Also, this would enhance Canada’s global opportunities as a leader in the field of fuel cell technology.

  • Photo:  A Hyundai Tucson fuel cell electric vehicle gets topped off with hydrogen at a Shell station in Newport Beach, California (ABC News). 

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